Financial markets are fast-moving, complex, and opaque. Even the U.S. stock market is fragmented into an array of competing exchanges and a set of proprietary “dark pools” run by financial firms. Meanwhile, high-frequency traders zoom around buying and selling stocks at speeds other investors cannot match.

Yet stocks represent a relatively transparent investment compared to many types of bonds, derivatives, and commodities. So when the financial sector melted down in 2007-08, it led to a wave of reforms as regulators sought to rationalize markets.

But every financial market, reformed or not, has its quirks, making them all ripe for scholars to scrutinize. That’s what Haoxiang Zhu does. The Gordon Y. Billard Professor of Management and Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management is an expert on how market design and structure influence asset prices and investors. Over the last decade, his detailed…

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